Terrafugia Completes First Stage of Flight Testing, Releases New “Flying Car” Footage

Terrafugia, the Woburn, MA, startup whose project to commercialize a “roadable aircraft” has attracted a worldwide following, said today that it’s completed flight testing of its initial proof-of-concept vehicle and is ready to build a second, “beta” aircraft.

The company also released extensive new video footage from test flights of the proof-of-concept plane by its test pilot, retired Air Force Colonel Phil Meteer. (We’ve embedded a couple of these videos below.)

The proof-of-concept vehicle, which Terrafugia has displayed at museums and air shows and flown 28 times from an airport in Plattsburgh, NY, is the only aircraft the company has built to date. In an announcement today, Terrafugia said it’s gotten all the data it can out of the prototype—not only demonstrating that a folding-wing aircraft fit for roadway driving can also fly, but testing its basic handling, performance, and stability on the road and during take-off and landing.

These tests constituted the first stage in a four-stage process of getting the Transition to market, the company said. It has already started work on stage 2, the beta prototype, which will incorporate modifications based on information collected during the stage 1 tests.

Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich—who will give a special presentation about the company at the Xconomy Summit on Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (XSITE), coming up June 24—told me in March that the craft’s maiden flight on March 5 and its subsequent test flights bring “a new level of credibility” to an effort that many observers have dismissed as quixotic.

Two of Terrafugia’s newest videos follow below.

Test 1146, May 6, 2009

Test 1151, May 6, 2009

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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